DEAR ABBY: I have a wonderful husband. "George" and I have been married for 16 years. Last summer George was going through a mid-life crisis and began shutting me out and spending most of his time at work.
A young woman -- 10 years his junior, married and temporarily separated from her husband -- began buying George lunch, complaining that she was unhappy at home, her husband was a poor lover, etc. She started praising my husband and feeding his ego.
Then one day she told him that her car was in the shop and she needed a ride home, so he drove her home and she invited him in "to talk." She asked George to kiss her. He did, and before he knew it, they were in bed. In the middle of the act, George said he realized that he was in the wrong place with the wrong woman, so he got out of bed, took a shower and came home to me. (This was his version.) He confessed, begged for my forgiveness and we prayed together. He said it was the worst sexual experience he ever had -- he didn't even complete the act.
George went to confession and told the priest everything. The priest said that technically George did not commit adultery because he did not complete the physical act. Is this true? I want to believe him. -- GEORGE'S WIFE
DEAR WIFE: Adultery, in traditional Catholic theology, does not depend on the completion of the physical act. (" ... anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:28.)
George's "mid-life crisis" is a cry for help, and his lapse of faithfulness is a symptom of an ailing marriage. But since he has been a faithful husband for 16 years, you should be less concerned about the biblical definition of adultery, and more concerned about the state of your marriage. You could both benefit from counseling.
Forgive him, unconditionally, and he will remain in the right place with the right woman, and your next 16 years should be even more wonderful than your first.
DEAR ABBY: After reading a couple of articles in your column about funny wedding nights and foldout couches, I'd like to tell you about our honeymoon -- more than 45 years ago. After World War II we were married in Connecticut and drove to California with our best man. Three on a honeymoon! We decided on this because my husband, Dick, and his best friend, Walter (their real names), were both still stationed at Hamilton Air Force Base in San Rafael, Calif.
We never had any reservations and rooms were hard to get, so we all slept in the same room every night, and they dragged in a cot for our best man. We got a lot of funny looks, but we knew everything was on the up and up, so we just laughed.
Poor Walter sat through a lot of lousy double features in an effort to give the newlyweds some time alone together.
To this day, we still laugh about our off-the-wall honeymoon. -- ANN SNOW, NAPERVILLE, ILL.
DEAR ABBY: The letter from the woman who was upset because her husband's friend didn't know how to use a fork properly reminded me of the following: Anton Chekhov, the great Russian writer, once said: "A well-mannered person is not one who knows which fork to use first, but one who doesn't notice when others use the wrong one." -- A STARS AND STRIPES FAN
To get Abby's booklet "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)
4900 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64112; (816) 932-6600